Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bush Fruit

There is a native bush fruit you can get in TAS and some parts of NSW and VIC called the climbing blueberry. It produces little blue berries that look like mini capsicums, are blue to deep purple and no bigger than a small grape. Like a capsicum they have a firm outer skin, are generally pretty hollow (no flesh) and have plenty of seeds inside. They have a pretty bland, some people say slightly apple flavour and the seeds inside make it gritty, so its not really appealing to on its own. As Mick Dundee said "you can live on it but it tastes like shit", but you would probably struggle to find enough to live on. One thing it does do though is make really good jam.

My partner and I were at festival a couple of years ago and tried some blueberry jam. It was really different, very subtle flavour. We liked it so much we went out and bought some seedlings in the hope we could grow them ourselves and make our own jam. Unfortunately the local wallabies like the plant more than we do so they never grew big enough to fruit. a few weeks ago we saw a few plants on the side of the road so we went berry picking.

I went searching for a recipe but couldn't find anything, people didn't even realise you could eat it. Because the fruit was quite unusual I wasn't sure how the lack of flesh would effect the consistency, how much sugar to put in or if it would set on its own. So when I started I had a lemon and some jam setta ready. I added a couple of grated apples, mostly to bulk it out. The lemon juice was mostly for a for a bit of acid and some extra zing. I got lucky and the lemon juice was enough to set jam. I did have to use the stick blender as the fruit weren't falling apart.

The end result was lovely, very sweet (it is jam), with quite a subtle flavour. You can taste the apple, almost too much. As nice as it is though, it probably needs something else. For a first try with no real recipe to follow I was pretty happy. We tried another recipe with no apples, a teaspoon of vanilla and half a teaspoon of cinnamon, but the cinnamon was a little overpowering.

We'll have to wait until next summer to try again. The funny thing is we don't even eat jam. We did keep a jar but that will last us all year. Our mates liked it though. The plant is Billardiera longiflora or the climbing blueberry for those that want to know. The recipe is below. Enjoy!!!

450g Blueberry fruit
2 regular apples, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
450g sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup of water


  1. I've even seen that fruit around here and there, and not realised it was edible. Fascinating.

    I'll see if I can score some, and then go the jam route with it. I'm thinking that maybe adding lemon verbena and a bit of pepperberry could be a go.

  2. We are almost finished the jar you sent us. Very nice indeed. Looking forward to next summers batch :)

  3. Mmm. Hopefully we get a proper summer next time, with ripe berries and everything!

  4. I like the Lemon verbena and pepperberry. Will put that on the list of things to try for next year. A summer next year would be good.